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There are fifty-two bodies of criminal law in the USA. Each stakes out often diverse positions on a range of issues. This article defines the "American rule" for each of the issues relating to general defenses, a first contribution toward creating an "American Criminal Code". The article is the result of a several-year research project examining every issue relating to justification, excuse, and nonexculpatory defenses. It determines the majority American position among the fifty-twodoi:10.1093/jla/lav001 fatcat:eiiz3qeb7nbh3k623dsw34uwte